Friday, December 2, 2016

19 Upcoming Winter Releases You'll Want to Curl Up With

It's already December (when did that happen?) and I'm ready to climb out of the cave I isolated myself in during NaNoWriMo and dive into some new books to get me through the cold, miserable winter months. Here are 19 Upcoming Winter Releases You Should add to your TBR list this season! 

19 Upcoming Winter Release You'll Want to Curl Up With

1. Lost Girl (The Neverwood Chronicles, #1) by Chanda Hahn
The Lost Girl
Chanda Hahn
December 13, 2016
YA Retelling
Blurb:
Wendy doesn't remember anything about Neverland—or the experiments done on her there as a child. Seven years later, all she wants is a normal life, but shape-shifting shadows plague her dreams and turn her life into a waking nightmare. When the shadows attack at a football game and a boy disappears right in front of her, she realizes these wraith-like shadows are real. They’re not just haunting—they’re hunting.


A mysterious boy named Peter, his foul-mouthed sidekick, and a band of misfit boys intervene before Wendy faces a similar fate. But can they trust Wendy enough to take her to Neverwood Academy and reveal all of their hidden secrets when she's hiding a secret of her own, or will the dreaded Red Skulls find her and drag her back to Neverland?

Why I Want to Read This Book:
I'm really into retellings or fairytale inspired novels lately and this one sounds really cool. I've seen a few different Peter Pan inspired novels before but this is a different take that sounds really interesting.

Pre-Order Your Copy:
Amazon | Add to Goodreads

2. Into the Light (Eternals Trilogy #2) by Taylor Fenner (me)
Into the Light
Taylor Fenner
December 13, 2016
YA Paranormal Romance / Urban Fantasy
Blurb:
It's time to make a choice...

Out of Darkness left you in a cliffhanger. Who will Lizette choose? Sexy, confident Thierry or Luke, the guy she can't stay away from? Will she stay in the shadows or come out Into the Light?

Choose love, choose wisely.

Once Lizette makes her choice there is no going back. Her new life is about to begin whether she's ready or not. In the coming months, Lizette will meet incredible new friends that will show her sides of herself that she never knew existed. But this isn't the happily-ever-after Lizette hoped it was going to be; there will be backlash when the Eternals come out to the world, the guy who stole her heart has a dark past that haunts him in his dreams, and the one she jilted isn't willing to bow to defeat. He'll go to any length to get Lizette, even if it costs someone their life...


There is no going back.

Why You'll Want to Read this Book:
Out of Darkness ended in a cliffhanger and I know you're just dying to find out who Lizette is going to pick and if she will choose to stay hidden or come out as an Eternal. 

Pre-order Your Copy:
Amazon | Add to Goodreads

3. Ever the Hunted (Clash of the Kingdoms #1) by Erin Summerill
Ever the Hunted
Erin Summerill
December 27, 2016
YA Fantasy
Blurb:
Seventeen-year-old Britta Flannery is at ease only in the woods with her dagger and bow. She spends her days tracking criminals alongside her father, a legendary bounty hunter—that is, until her father is murdered. The alleged killer is none other than Cohen Mackay, her father’s former apprentice. The only friend she’s ever known. The boy she once loved who broke her heart.  

     She must go on a dangerous quest in a world of warring kingdoms, mad kings, and dark magic to find the real killer. But Britta wields more power than she knows. And soon she will learn what has always made her different will make her a force to be reckoned with.  

Why You'll Want to Read this Book:
I actually just finished this book earlier this week and it was fantastic. If you're a fan of Sarah J. Maas's books or any other fantasy novels you'll love this one! Not to mention the cover is gorgeous! 

Pre-Order Your Copy:
Amazon | Add to Goodreads




4. Freeks by Amanda Hocking
Freeks
Amanda Hocking
January 3, 2017
YA Fantasy
Blurb:
Mara has become used to the extraordinary. Roaming from place to place with Gideon Davorin’s Traveling Carnival, she longs for an ordinary life where no one has the ability to levitate or predict the future.


She gets her chance when the struggling sideshow sets up camp in the small town of Caudry, and she meets a gorgeous local guy named Gabe. But before long, Mara realizes there’s a dark presence lurking in the town that’s threatening the lives of her friends. She has seven days to take control of a power she didn’t know she had in order to save everyone she cares about―and change the future forever.

Why I Want To Read This Book:
Maybe it's the title. Maybe it's the awesome cover. Maybe it's the blurb. But there's something about this book that has me dying to pick up a copy. I've never read anything by this author before, but this sounds like something I'd love. 

Pre-Order Your Copy:
Amazon | Add to Goodreads

5. The Book Jumper by Mechthild Gläser
The Book Jumper
Mechthild Gläser
January 3, 2017
YA Fantasy
Blurb:
Amy Lennox doesn't know quite what to expect when she and her mother pick up and leave Germany for Scotland, heading to her mother's childhood home of Lennox House on the island of Stormsay.


Amy's grandmother, Lady Mairead, insists that Amy must read while she resides at Lennox House—but not in the usual way. It turns out that Amy is a book jumper, able to leap into a story and interact with the world inside. As thrilling as Amy's new power is, it also brings danger: someone is stealing from the books she visits, and that person may be after her life. Teaming up with fellow book jumper Will, Amy vows to get to the bottom of the thefts—at whatever cost.

Why I Want To Read This Book:
I love the idea of book jumping. This book kind of reminds me of the book Jodi Picoult cowrote with her daughter, Between the Lines - but that was kind of in reverse, the characters in the book were alive. It will be interesting to read this take on a person able to enter a written story. Because don't we all secretly fantasize about doing that?

Pre-Order Your Copy
Amazon | Add to Goodreads

6. Teen Hyde (High School Horror #2) by Chandler Baker
Teen Hyde
Chandler Baker
January 10, 2017
YA Horror
Blurb:
Cassidy Hyde is NOT having a good year. Her boyfriend cheated on her, killed her best friend's date during homecoming, and was then murdered in turn by a serial killer, and that's without counting the thing that no one knows about. (But Cassidy doesn't like to think about that.) The point is, anyone would be a little depressed and no one can blame her for looking for a little bit of help. That's where Sunshine comes in. This new experimental drug makes Cassidy feel like everything is good and she's the golden girl once again. A little memory loss feels like a small price to pay to get her life back. And the fact that boys are once again going missing (boys who Cassidy does NOT want to remember) has NOTHING to do with anything! Right?

Why I Want To Read This Book:
This book sounds like it might be more comical than scary but we'll see. Is it horror? Doesn't matter what genre this book is, a reimagining of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde is something that hasn't been completely overdone so I'm going to give it a try. 
Pre-Order Your Copy:
Amazon | Add to Goodreads

7. RoseBlood by A.G. Howard
RoseBlood
A.G. Howard
January 10, 2017
YA Retelling
Blurb:
Rune Germaine moves to a boarding school outside of Paris, only to discover that at this opera-house-turned-music-conservatory, phantoms really do exist. RoseBlood is a Phantom of the Opera–inspired retelling in which Rune’s biggest talent—her voice—is also her biggest curse. Fans of Daughter of Smoke and Bone and the Splintered series will find themselves captivated by this pulse-pounding spin on a classic tale.

Rune, whose voice has been compared to that of an angel, has a mysterious affliction linked to her talent that leaves her sick and drained at the end of every performance. Convinced creative direction will cure her, her mother ships her off to a French boarding school for the arts, rumored to have a haunted past.


Shortly after arriving at RoseBlood conservatory, Rune starts to believe something otherworldly is indeed afoot. The mystery boy she’s seen frequenting the graveyard beside the opera house doesn’t have any classes at the school, and vanishes almost as quickly as he appears. When Rune begins to develop a secret friendship with the elusive Thorn, who dresses in clothing straight out of the 19th century, she realizes that in his presence she feels cured. Thorn may be falling for Rune, but the phantom haunting RoseBlood wants her for a very specific and dangerous purpose. As their love continues to grow, Thorn is faced with an impossible choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or save her and face the wrath of the phantom, the only father he’s ever known.

Why You'll Want to Read This Book:
If you're a fan of A.G. Howard you already know this book is going to be great. If you're new to the author (like I was) you'll fall in love with A.G. Howard's beautiful retelling of The Phantom of the Opera. The characters, the storyline, and the setting are all superb. This book made me a fan of the Phantom of the Opera too because I immediately put the movie version at the top of my Netflix queue. I highly recommend this one! 

Pre-Order Your Copy:
Amazon | Add to Goodreads

8. Beheld (Kendra Chronicles #4) by Alex Flinn
Beheld
Alex Flinn
January 10, 2017
YA Retelling
Blurb:
Being a powerful witch, Kendra has survived it all. Since she first beheld James over three hundred years ago, Kendra has tangled with witch hunters and wolves, helped a miller’s daughter spin straw into gold, cowered in London as German bombs fell, and lived through who knows how many shipwrecks. But her powers have limits, and immortality can be lonely. Kendra isn’t ready to stop searching for the warlock she had met centuries ago.


With the help of her magic mirror, Kendra will travel the world to reconnect with her lost love—and, of course, she can’t help but play a hand in a few more stories along the way.

Why I Want To Read This Book:
I'm new to this series and I know starting at book four sounds insane, but this one sound really good. I didn't even realize until I read the blurb on Amazon that this is the same witch from Beastly. This was a book I was attracted to just because of the cover. 

Pre-Order Your Copy:
Amazon | Add to Goodreads

9. The Last Harvest by Kim Ligget
The Last Harvest
Kim Liggett
January 10, 2017
YA Horror
Blurb:
"I plead the blood."

Those were the last words seventeen-year-old golden boy quarterback Clay Tate heard rattling from his dad's throat when he discovered him dying on the barn floor of the Neely cattle ranch, clutching a crucifix to his chest.

Now, on the first anniversary of the Midland, Oklahoma, slaughter, the whole town's looking at Clay like he might be next to go over the edge. Clay wants to forget the past, but the sons and daughters of the Preservation Society―a group of prominent farmers his dad accused of devil worship―won't leave him alone. Including Ali, his longtime crush, who suddenly wants to reignite their romance after a year of silence, and hated rival Tyler Neely, who's behaving like they're old friends.


Even as Clay tries to reassure himself, creepy glances turn to sinister stares and strange coincidences build to gruesome rituals―but when he can never prove that any of it happened, Clay worries he might be following his dad down the path to insanity...or that something far more terrifying lies in wait around the corner.

Why I Want To Read This Book:
I loved Kim Ligget's Blood and Salt and this book sounds like it's on a similar but different wavelength and I can't wait to dive into this book as I wait for the second book in the Blood and Salt series.

Pre-Order Your Copy:
Amazon | Add to Goodreads

10. After the Fall by Kate Hart
After the Fall
Kate Hart
January 24, 2017
YA Contemporary
Blurb:
Seventeen-year-old Raychel is sleeping with two boys: her overachieving best friend Matt…and his slacker brother, Andrew. Raychel sneaks into Matt’s bed after nightmares, but nothing ever happens. He doesn’t even seem to realize she’s a girl, except when he decides she needs rescuing. But Raychel doesn't want to be his girl anyway. She just needs his support as she deals with the classmate who assaulted her, the constant threat of her family’s eviction, and the dream of college slipping quickly out of reach. Matt tries to help, but he doesn’t really get it… and he’d never understand why she’s fallen into a secret relationship with his brother. The friendships are a precarious balance, and when tragedy strikes, everything falls apart. Raychel has to decide which pieces she can pick up – and which ones are worth putting back together.

Why I Want To Read This Book:
This book sounds raw and realistic and in a sea of upcoming books that are retellings or fantasy, this book sounds refreshing. I love books like this, where teens face obstacles and learn who they are and who they are becoming. It reminds me of the days of YA novels before Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, and those type of books took over. While I love my fantasy novels, sometimes it's nice to come back to the real world.

Pre-Order Your Copy:
Amazon | Add to Goodreads

11. Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Caraval
Stephanie Garber
January 31, 2017
YA Fantasy 
Blurb:
Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.


Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.

Why I Want To Read This Book:
Every blogger I know has either read this book and loved it or is extremely excited for its' release. In a way, it kind of reminds me of what I think "Freeks" is about but in a different way. I think this one somehow makes me think of a traveling circus or carnival too. This isn't a must-read-or-I-will-die upcoming release, but I would like to see what it's all about.

Pre-Order Your Copy:
Amazon | Add to Goodreads

12. Long Way Home (Thunder Road #3) by Katie McGarry
Long Way Home
Katie McGarry
January 31, 2017
YA Contemporary
Blurb:
Seventeen-year-old Violet has always been expected to sit back and let the boys do all the saving 

It's the code her father, a member of the Reign of Terror motorcycle club, raised her to live by. Yet when her dad is killed carrying out Terror business, Violet knows it's up to her to do the saving. To protect herself, and her vulnerable younger brother, she needs to cut all ties with the club—including Chevy, the boy she's known and loved her whole life. 

But when a rival club comes after Violet, exposing old secrets and making new threats, she's forced to question what she thought she knew about her father, the Reign of Terror and what she thinks she wants. Which means reevaluating everything: love, family, friends…and forgiveness. 


Caught in the crosshairs between loyalty and freedom, Violet must decide whether old friends can be trusted—and if she's strong enough to be the one person to save them all.

Why I Want to Read This Book:
I love Katie McGarry's books and I've been wanting to get into this series for a while now. All three of the books in this series were a part of my Apollycon virtual signing order so I'm eager to read this book and the first two. I read a teaser on the author's facebook page and it sounds really good! 

Pre-order Your Copy:
Amazon | Add to Goodreads

13. Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
Wintersong
S. Jae-Jones
February 7, 2017
YA Fantasy
Blurb:
The last night of the year. Now the days of winter begin and the Goblin King rides abroad, searching for his bride…

All her life, Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, dangerous Goblin King. They’ve enraptured her mind, her spirit, and inspired her musical compositions. Now eighteen and helping to run her family’s inn, Liesl can’t help but feel that her musical dreams and childhood fantasies are slipping away.


But when her own sister is taken by the Goblin King, Liesl has no choice but to journey to the Underground to save her. Drawn to the strange, captivating world she finds―and the mysterious man who rules it―she soon faces an impossible decision. And with time and the old laws working against her, Liesl must discover who she truly is before her fate is sealed.

Why I Want To Read This Book:
This book sounds like it's steeped in mythology and retelling. Could it be that it's inspired by the Persephone myth but with a German-esque setting? I haven't even read this book yet and I think I might already love it. 

Pre-Order Your Copy:
Amazon | Add to Goodreads

14. Riveted (Saints of Denver #3) by Jay Crownover
Riveted
Jay Crownover
February 14, 2017
NA Romance
Blurb:
Everyone else in Dixie Carmichael’s life has made falling in love look easy, and now she is ready for her own chance at some of that happily ever after. Which means she’s done pining for the moody, silent former soldier who works with her at the bar that’s become her home away from home. Nope. No more chasing the hot as heck thundercloud of a man and no more waiting for Mr. Right to find her; she’s going hunting for him...even if she knows her heart is stuck on its stupid infatuation with Dash Churchill.

Denver has always been just a pit stop for Church on his way back to rural Mississippi. It was supposed to be simple, uneventful, but nothing could have prepared him for the bubbly, bouncy redhead with doe eyes and endless curves. Now he knows it’s time to get out of Denver, fast. For a man used to living in the shadows, the idea of spending his days in the sun is nothing short of terrifying.


When Dixie and Church find themselves caught up in a homecoming overshadowed with lies and danger, Dixie realizes that while falling in love is easy, loving takes a whole lot more work…especially when Mr. Right thinks he’s all wrong for you. 

Why I Want To Read This Book:
I love Jay Crownover as an author, but I haven't been as in love with her Saints of Denver spinoff series. I thought it would be more about the tattoo artists that Nash and Rule would hire at their new shop "Saints of Denver"; but really it's been about the minor background characters from the Marked Men series. I like the books and I want to read this one, but I'm not as excited about this one as some of the other ones listed here.

Pre-Order Your Copy:
Amazon | Add to Goodreads

15. The Valiant by Lesley Livingston
The Valiant
Lesley Livingston
February 14, 2017
YA Historical Fiction / Fantasy
Blurb:
Princess. Captive. Gladiator. Always a Warrior. 

Fallon is the daughter of a proud Celtic king and the younger sister of the legendary fighter Sorcha. When Fallon was just a child, Sorcha was killed by the armies of Julius Caesar. 

On the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Fallon is excited to follow in her sister's footsteps and earn her place in her father's war band. She never gets the chance.

Fallon is captured and sold to an elite training school for female gladiators—owned by none other than Julius Caesar himself. In a cruel twist of fate, the man who destroyed Fallon’s family might be her only hope of survival. 


Now, Fallon must overcome vicious rivalries, deadly fights in and out of the arena, and perhaps the most dangerous threat of all: her irresistible feelings for Cai, a young Roman soldier and her sworn enemy. 

Why I Want to Read This Book:
Celtic princess turned female gladiator? Julius Ceasar? A spot of forbidden romance with a Roman soldier? How could you not want to read this book? 

Pre-Order Your Copy:
Amazon | Add to Goodreads

16. Unrest (Unknown #2 by Wendy Higgins
Unrest
Wendy Higgins
February 16, 2017
NA Post-Apocalyptic / Sci-Fi
Blurb:
Being on the run in the desert means food and sanctuary are hard to come by, but Amber Tate and her crew are not about to give up. Not after having so many of the things they love brutally ripped from them by an unknown enemy who sent their world into the apocalypse.

Survival takes precedence, but once safe shelter is found, their guards fall and the emotions they’ve been holding in are finally released. Anger, insecurities...lust. In their tight quarters, Amber, Rylen, Tater, and Remy can't escape it. The past must be faced, and passions run even stronger in the darkest of times.


In the midst of unrest, their worlds are rocked again when they discover the truth about the war that’s ruined their lives. They thought finding out the enemy's identity would give them the edge; instead it’s revealed terrifying dangers they never thought possible.

Why I Want To Read This Book:
Wendy Higgins is one of my favorite authors, but I haven't gotten a chance to read Unknown - the first book in her self-published NA trilogy. I'm hoping to read it this winter then move on to Unrest. 

Add to Goodreads

17. Beautiful Broken Girls by Kim Savage
Beautiful Broken Girls
Kim Savage
February 21, 2017
YA Contemporary / Mystery
Blurb:
Remember the places you touched me.


Mira and Francesca Cillo were beautiful, overprotected by their father, and, frankly, odd. To the neighborhood boys they seemed untouchable. But one boy, Ben, touched seven parts of Mira: her palm, hair, chest, cheek, lips, throat, and heart. After the sisters drown themselves in the quarry lake, a post-mortem letter from Mira arrives in Ben's mailbox. The letter sends Ben on a quest to find notes in the places where they touched. Note by note, Ben discovers the mystical secret at the heart of Mira and Francesca's strange world, and he discovers that some things are better left untouched.

Why I Want to Read This Book:
This book is a mystery to me and I'm dying to unravel it. I really don't know what to make of it but I can't wait to read it. 

Pre-Order Your Copy:
Amazon | Add to Goodreads

18. Till Death by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Till Death
Jennifer L. Armentrout
February 28, 2017
Adult Romance / Mystery / Thriller
Blurb:
It’s been ten years since Sasha Keaton left her West Virginia hometown . . . since she escaped the twisted serial killer known as the Groom. Returning to help run her family inn means being whole again, except for one missing piece. The piece that falls into place when Sasha’s threatened—and FBI agent Cole Landis vows to protect her the way he couldn’t a decade ago.


First one woman disappears; then another, and all the while, disturbing calling cards are left for the sole survivor of the Groom’s reign of terror. Cole’s never forgiven himself for not being there when Sasha was taken, but he intends to make up for it now . . . because under the quirky sexiness Cole first fell for is a steely strength that only makes him love Sasha more.



But someone is watching. Waiting. And Sasha’s first mistake could be her last.

Why I Want To Read This Book: 
The blurb reminds me of Ted Dekkar's The Bride Collector, which is a favorite of mine, so instantly I'm interested in this book. I love these kinds of books and I'm eager to see if it meets the expectations set by some of my favorite mystery/thriller authors Sandra Brown, Lisa Jackson, and Nora Roberts. 

Pre-order Your Copy:
Amazon | Add to Goodreads

19. Daughter of The Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller
Daughter of the Pirate King
Tricia Levenseller
February 28, 2017
YA Adventure / Romance 
Blurb:
If you want something done right....

When the ruthless Pirate King learns of a legendary treasure map hidden on an enemy ship, his daughter, Alosa, knows that there's only one pirate for the job―herself. Leaving behind her beloved ship and crew, Alosa deliberately facilitates her own kidnapping to ensure her passage on the enemy ship. After all, who's going to suspect a seventeen-year-old girl locked in a cell?

Then she meets the (surprisingly perceptive and unfairly attractive) first mate, Riden, who is charged with finding out all her secrets. Now it's down to a battle of wits and will... Can Alosa find the map and escape before Riden figures out her plan?


Why I Want To Read This Book:
It's been a while since I read a good pirate novel, and this one sounds really interesting. 

Pre-Order Your Copy:
Amazon | Add to Goodreads


***
What are your most anticipated reads of Winter 2016-2017? Did any of your picks make the list? What do you think of the ones chosen? 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

"What I'm Reading" Wednesday #51

I finished reading Ever the Hunted, and you'll hear all about my thoughts on that on December 27th, but this "WIR"-Wednesday I'm moving on to...

Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5) by Sarah J. Maas
Blurb:
The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those who don't.

With her heart sworn to the warrior-prince by her side, and her fealty pledged to the people she is determined to save, Aelin will delve into the depths of her power to protect those she loves. But as monsters emerge from the horrors of the past, and dark forces become poised to claim her world, the only chance for salvation will lie in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

Why I Chose This Book / What I Think So Far:
Okay, so you all know I tried reading Throne of Glass (book 1) a few months ago and it wasn't like I didn't like it... I just had other books for ARCs that I had to read, so I put it down and haven't quite picked it back up. But at the time I thought it was a little slow moving. Maybe I was just on a book overload or maybe I didn't give it enough time, so instead of going back to book one I'm going to read book 5 and move my way backward through the series. Yes, I know that sounds bad, but hey I can do what I want. Everyone has been raving about EOS for months and how the ending "destroyed" them and since the first page has grabbed me I'm eager to get into this one. 
P.S. you'll notice I used the picture of the UK cover and that is because that's the cover of my copy. Yes, I live in Wisconsin which is firmly in the middle of the US - but I love the UK covers of this series even better than the dark cover US versions so I ordered this one from Book Depository. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

"What I'm Reading" Wednesday #50

This "WIR"-Wednesday I've finally completed reading a book in what feels like the first time in weeks (has it been that long since a book didn't hit the DNF pile?) and now I'm starting an ARC of a book I've been really looking forward to...

Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill
Blurb:
Seventeen year-old Britta Flannery is at ease only in the woods with her dagger and bow. She spends her days tracking criminals alongside her father, a legendary bounty hunter—that is, until her father is murdered. The alleged killer is none other than Cohen Mackay, her father’s former apprentice. The only friend she’s ever known. The boy she once loved who broke her heart.  
     She must go on a dangerous quest in a world of warring kingdoms, mad kings, and dark magic to find the real killer. But Britta wields more power than she knows. And soon she will learn what has always made her different will make her a force to be reckoned with.  

Why I Wanted To Read This Book / What I Think So Far:
This is one of my most anticipated reads of Winter 2016-2017 and I've been dying to read it, but I've heard mixed reviews from people who have already read it. Some people love it and some people have found it to be something they had to "endure," so being the person I am I wanted to be able to judge for myself. This is yet another book I chose to want to read based on the really awesome cover, and I'm just starting it today so beside the fact that it's an ARC and I don't want to give away any opinions until my official review posts on the release date, I honestly can't tell you what I think of it yet. Stay tuned for pre-order links in my winter anticipated releases blog coming in the beginning of December, and my full review on the release date in the end of December! 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Book Review: Nemesis by Anna Banks

Nemesis by Anna Banks
Blurb:
The princess didn't expect to fall in love--with her nemesis.

Princess Sepora of Serubel is the last Forger in all the five kingdoms. The spectorium she creates provides energy for all, but now her father has found a way to weaponize it, and his intentions to incite war force her to flee from his grasp. She escapes across enemy lines into the kingdom of Theoria, but her plans to hide are thwarted when she is captured and placed in the young king's servitude.

Tarik has just taken over rulership of Theoria, and must now face a new plague sweeping through his kingdom and killing his citizens. The last thing he needs is a troublesome servant vying for his attention. But mistress Sepora will not be ignored. When the two finally meet face-to-face, they form an unlikely bond that complicates life in ways neither of them could have imagined.

Sepora's gift could save Tarik's kingdom from the Quiet Plague. But should she trust her growing feelings for her nemesis, or should she hide her gifts at all costs?

My Review:
Princess Sepora has escaped from her abusive father, the king of Serubel and faked her own death. The reason? Her father wants to use her ability to forge the element spectorium to arm his men and start a war against Theoria and the other three kingdoms of the world. Her only hope is to head to the neighboring kingdom, Theoria - Serubel's sworn enemy and the last place Sepora's father would look for her. Her goal is to live in the Baseborn Quarters with the freed Serubelan slaves. and find work as a servant. What she doesn't plan on is being captured by thieves in the tenantless desert between the two countries or to be sold to the king's brother as a present and addition to the king's harem.

Meanwhile, Tarik has been newly crowned the Falcon King of Theoria after the untimely death of his father. At eighteen Tarik is not ready for the responsibility of running a kingdom, especially with the fatal quiet plague that his father died of spreading through the kingdom. His advisor Rashidi insists that they should keep it quiet so not to spread chaos throughout the kingdom, but Tarik knows it is only a matter of time before the disease becomes an epidemic. The last thing he needs is a feisty girl in the palace who has opinions of her own and refuses to become a member of his harem. But could this mysterious girl be the key in stopping the spreading of the disease and prevent a war against Serubel?

As Tarik and Sepora meet, interact, and even fall in love Tarik has no idea that Sepora is the presumed dead princess of Serubel or that she has the ability to create the spectorium needed to cure the sick people of his country. But as hard as they try to keep a respectful distance from each other they can't deny their obvious chemistry or their growing feelings for each other. 

What will happen when their fledgling relationship is put to the test of love vs. duty? Will it bring them closer together or tear them apart? How will Tarik react when Sepora's true identity and all of her secrets are laid out on the table? Can you ever really trust your nemesis?

Let me start off by saying I wanted to read this book because of the awesome cover but remember what they say: never judge a book by its' cover. A blogger I'm acquainted with that read an ARC once commented that this book is less of a fantasy novel and more of an instruction manual on how to run a government. At the time I scoffed and  decided I would read it myself before forming an opinion.

In a way that blogger was right. This book has a lot of sections about how Tarik is going to run Theoria or how Sepora's father or ancestors ran Serubel and throughout the book that got me stuck a few times. A few times I actually contemplated giving up, especially in the beginning since it's mainly bogged down by Sepora's journey and capture in the Tenantless and Tarik's taking over of Theoria. They don't even meet until page 125! But it was that first conversation between Tarik and Sepora that changed everything for me. For the first time in 125 pages, I was interested in the story. I found something humorous in the writing. And so I continued. 

In my opinion, the story gets better from that point onward, with an occasionally boring section about war strategies or running the kingdom popping up from time to time (which I'll admit I did skip over because it was really boring.). The thing is, when I skipped over those sections I don't feel like I missed anything in the story. 

I liked Nemesis, but I wish it could have moved like it did in the last 3/4 to half of the book instead of dragging like it did in the beginning. I thought the main characters - Tarik, Sepora, Cy, and Sethos -  were great and it was even better when they were interacting. I just think that the slow, boring part of the beginning might cause some readers to cast the book aside without seeing the potential of where this story could go. The other thing I didn't really like, even if it is a petty little thing, is that every other fantasy novel out there from the Throne of Glass Series to the ACOTAR series to the Remnant Chronicles or Three Dark Crowns and gosh so many more, they all have maps at the beginning of the book. I would have loved to have seen a map of the five kingdoms and gotten an idea of where they were located or what kind of natural landmarks (mountains, deserts, ect.) they had. Am I the only one who miss having a map in Nemesis?!?!

 By the end, though, I'm dying to see what's going to happen in the next book. Will Tarik come to see that the reason Sepora is drawing away from him is because he's begun acting like her bully of a father? Will Sepora ever forgive Tarik or warm up to him again? What's going to happen to Sethos? These are the things I hope to see answered in the next book of course, but it came so close to me quitting this book before I ever became invested in the characters. 

It all comes down to this: Was this the best fantasy novel I've ever read? No. Did I like it enough to want to read the next book? Yes. 

My Rating:
3.75 of 5 Stars

Friday, November 18, 2016

INTO THE LIGHT Playlist

Into the Light Blog Series - Part II of IV: the Into the Light Playlist
For the Into the Light Playlist I was all over the place musically. Some of these songs helped me write specific scenes while others remind me of the characters. This is the Into the Light Playlist shown through videos...

1) “It’s Not You" by Halestorm

"I'm in love with somebody... and it's not you!" - This line went well with the opening scene and Lizette's big decision. Who will she pick? Luke? Thierry? Find out soon!

2) “Who Wouldn’t Wanna Be Me” by Keith Urban 


I love this song and in Into the Light it inspired a journey for Lizette. 

3) “Free” by Zac Brown Band


I listened to this one a lot toward the beginning of Into the Light.

4) “Iko Iko” by The Dixie Cups


I heard this song in a movie once and fell in love with the beat. It doesn't really inspire any scenes, it just gave me an overall feel that was upbeat. 

5) “Hungry Like The Wolf" by Duran Duran


Luna from the wolf clan pops up in Into the Light and this song comes to mind when I think of her.

6) “Bad Karma” by Ida Maria


"You better believe in voodoo babe
I got a long list of your sins
There's a word you may have heard of called payback
and I'm runnin' out of pins"
Another song I loved in a movie, and it reminds me of Claudette and everyone's perceived idea of Voodoo. 

7) “Johnny Cash” by Jason Aldean


This and the next song popped into my head while I was writing a scene featuring two awesome new characters you'll meet in Into the Light.

8) "Viva Las Vegas" by Elvis


My grandmother is a huge Elvis fan, and when you read the scene I'm referring to the song will completely make sense.

9) "In Your Room" by Halestorm


"I know everyone you've ever trusted has let you down"
This song is all about letting someone in, letting someone get to know you fully and this song helped me write one of two particularly hard sections of Into the Light.

10) "Private Parts" by Halestorm (feat. James Michael)


"Every time I try to get a little closer
You shut down and the conversation's over
I'm right here, but you leave me in the dark
Show me your private parts.
Give it up baby, what are you afraid of
Love sucks when you don't know what it's made of
We get naked but I can't undress your heart
Show me your private parts, show me your private parts"

On a personal note - this is my favorite song ever. It's all about wanting someone to open up to you even if they don't want to. And that's going to pop up for Lizette and the guy she chooses in Into the Light. P.S. when looking for a video on Youtube, I thought this one was seriously awesome! 

11) "I'll Be Seeing You" by Billie Holiday


This song is just so... I can't describe it. Anyway, I listened to this song toward the end of writing Into the Light and in a way it has a double meaning for my characters. 

12) "Hello" by Adele


The first time I heard this song I knew that if any song was going to be playing in the background of the final scene in Into the Light this one was going to be it. It's less about the meaning of the song and more of just the overall emotion. 

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PREORDER INTO THE LIGHT (Eternals Trilogy #2) Today! 

Into the Light arrives December 13, 2016!